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Top Illinois target Houston Griffith is transferring to IMG Academy

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The Illini legacy recruit is leaving Mount Carmel this offseason.

One of Fighting Illini football’s top in-state targets is transferring to a Florida boarding school. Class-of-2018 defensive back and Illinois legacy recruit Houston Griffith will be transferring from Mount Carmel High School (Chicago) to IMG Academy ahead of his junior season. Griffith, a four-star prospect, is the No. 83 overall player in Scout’s latest rankings.

First I’d like to thank the entire Mount Carmel community for everything they’ve done for me. I would like to give a special thanks to my coaches and teammates. Without them I would not be in this position. I am very grateful for the experiences I’ve had at Mount Carmet High School.

After a lot of though and guidance from my family, I’ve decided to accept the tremendous offer to attend IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL. I feel that this is the best decision for my development as a young man and a player. I will have an opportunity to play and practice against some of the best competition in the country on a daily basis. This decision will also allow me to graduate early and early enroll to my university of choice. I will really miss my home, but I’m excited for my next chapter!

~ Houston Griffith

I’m not sure if this move was expected or not, but it makes perfect sense from Griffith’s perspective. IMG Academy has produced Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Luke Kuechly, and several other NFL stars so the coaches clearly know how to handle top talent. Furthermore, the draw of early college enrollment is likely a huge factor because that’d lead to more opportunities for early playing time.

I think it’s too early to determine how this impacts Illinois’ pursuit of Griffith, but it’s admittedly hard to envision any scenario in which this actually helps the coaching staff. The possibilities for quick, in-season visits to Champaign have essentially been eliminated, after all. Although even if this decision does hurt Illinois, it may not be the worst thing in the world to have Lovie Smith interacting with IMG’s staff on a semi-regular basis. Establishing those relationships could pay dividends down the road.

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